Thanks to the Corona pandemic, home office (legally rather mobile working) has spread quickly. After initial difficulties with the technology, working from home has also become established in my company.
In other companies, mobile working has been used even more. But the pandemic seems to be dying down and companies are considering how to move forward with the home office.
Some companies are seizing the opportunity. More home office reduces the need for office space and thus costs. In return, employees are happy about the supposed freedom and flexibility. Supposedly, because they often work more than contractually agreed. For a while, I also checked my e-mail in the evening and thought about my work on the sofa.
The lack of separation blurs the boundaries between work and leisure time. In the end, you're always thinking about work somehow. And you're often no more flexible for it. Since team meetings have become the new standard, there are significantly more appointments - at least for me. Instead of carefully formulating your questions and content in an e-mail, you quickly set up a short (i.e. one-hour) team meeting.
In the meantime, I jump from appointment to appointment, usually without a precise description or protocol. If a time is not occupied, then one often gets spontaneous calls or at least briefly writes the information together. A proper preparation or follow-up? Working on e-mails and messages? Flexible after appointments. Gladly after dinner on the sofa. Beyond the contractual working hours.
But it's not like that at all! Actually, we all just sit around lazily at home in the home office! At least if Elon Musk is to be believed. He forces his executives back into the office, for at least 40 hours a week. Beyond that, they're welcome to work from home. How gracious. When asked what happens to employees who think this directive is antiquated, he replied simply: "Let them pretend to work somewhere else." (Tweet by Elon Musk)
Returning to the office as not about collaboration, it's about control. It's about power. Not about better collaboration. Thanks to teams, many employees are working more closely together than ever. Or does Elon seriously think that coffee meetings seriously lead to more productivity? Unfortunately, many backward entrepreneurs think so.
But in the end, it's up to the workers. Just go back to the office, work eight hours and then enjoy the free time. Without smartphones, without teams, without Outlook. If you enforce strict rules, you shouldn't be surprised if the workforce complies.